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Q&A with Julie Foudy
ABC Sports Online

ABC Sports sat down with U.S. Women's National Team captain Julie Foudy earlier this spring to talk about her team's thrilling victory over China to win World Cup '99.

ABC Sports: What's the best part of playing for the National Team?

Foudy: When you walk out and you're standing there with your team and they play the National Anthem. That is the best. And it's still like to this day, every time. And even if it's in front of 200 people or for an exhibition match that means nothing, that's the greatest feeling because it brings you back to this is why I'm here, I'm playing for my country. It's just a soccer game, but what a special opportunity.

Julie Foudy
Julie Foudy shown playing for the San Diego Spirit, her new team in the WUSA Soccer League that debuted this spring.

ABC Sports: So then what was it like listening to it at the World Cup Final in 1999?

Foudy: I totally remember the National Anthem at the final. The Hanson Brothers were singing it. I can remember specifically standing in line and it was really hot and the stadium was packed. I can remember getting emotional and I was like, God, get a hold of yourself. [You have a game to play here. But all these emotions came flooding back because it was all that we had wanted and dreamt about for so long and had told people it's gonna happen and people were like, Yeah, right, it'll never happen. You'll never fill the Rose Bowl.

It was all coming together and it kind of hit me at that moment when they were singing.

ABC Sports: What moments do you recall from that game the most?

Foudy: It's all kind of a big blur now. Obviously Kristine Lilly heading it off the line was a big moment and, but I just remember it being so hot and feeling really fatigued in the first half and then the second half kind of acclimatizing to the weather a little better and getting a little more energy. I would have never predicted it going into penalty kicks. Penalty kicks are something we did not practice enough of in hindsight. Michelle Akers and Brandi were the two that worked on it the most. And the rest of us would take 'em every once in awhile, but we didn't practice it a lot. It wasn't something we thought we would go into.

I remember Carla Overbeck, the captain, and I sitting there going, Oh my God. This is not what we had predicted. But the most important thing was to give off this aura of confidence. And so I can remember us laughing about how we were just doing spin control. Oh, we're fine, we're fine. We've been practicing for this forever.

ABC Sports: Bring us through what happened next.

Foudy: Penalty kicks are so much about confidence and your mentality going into them. If you go walk up to a kick and you're not sure where you're gonna place it or you're feeling a little uneasy, that's when you often miss it.

Carla was the first one to step up and she just slammed it home and does this fist pump in the air and it was awesome because it just gave the team so much confidence. We were all standing at the mid stripe holding hands. So, as they went along, I just knew our experience would come into play. This is the situation we live for in training, that we live for when we're out there every day working hard. You want that opportunity. You want to be the one that steps up there and takes a kick. You want to be the one that can be the decider. So confidence, I would say, was the prevailing mood at the time.

ABC Sports: Can you talk about Billie Jean King and the relationship she's had with the team?

Foudy: She's been awesome with us. People will say, Who are your role models and who are your pioneers? And the first person that comes to my mind is Billie Jean King because we didn't have women that we could watch when I was growing up. I was fortunate enough to meet her in 1995 when I was with the National Team and she has become an incredible mentor for our team. And the charisma she brought to tennis and changing that whole world, she also has brought to soccer. She's been a soundboard for our team and I think when you meet a person with that much passion and energy and charisma, it's so contagious and it gives you confidence.

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